Tag Archives: murder

Meet the real Georgia killers

georgia board of pardonsMeet the five people responsible for the death of Troy Davis – the Georgia Board of Pardons. We don’t know how they voted. It is possible that one or two of these people is innocent. As a group, however, they conspired and announced their death sentence. Troy Davis will be killed on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:00PM.

(Update: Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia and pronounced dead at 11:08PM. Witnesses reported that his last words from gurney with the needle already in were addressed to the victim’s family and his prison guards, “I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.”)

Troy Davis was convicted in 1989 for the murder of Savannah of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. No physical evidence linking Davis to the murder was presented at the trial. No gun was ever found. Seven of the nine witnesses in his trial have since recanted their testimony – several later testified they had been coerced by the police and the prosecution. An eighth witness, Redd Coles, has admitted that he was the killer.

“Calls for Davis to be spared execution have been made by numerous dignitaries, including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher and Larry Thompson, the former deputy U.S. attorney general. Davis’ advocates, including Amnesty International and the NAACP, have used social media to rally worldwide support. Last week, Davis’ supporters presented the parole board with the names of more than 663,000 people asking that Davis be granted clemency.” – AJC.com

The Troy Davis case has been problematic since the beginning and is a poster child of what can go wrong, even in modern day Georgia, when political pressure to convict in a police shooting meets a poor black defendant. (Wikipedia has a quick overview.)

“This has been an extraordinary legal saga since the murder in 1989, and two years ago the United States Supreme Court did something it almost never does – instructed a District Court in Georgia to take another look at the case, hold a hearing,” Toobin said.
A Savannah judge did just that, Toobin said, and issued a 170-page opinion saying that, despite the recanted testimony, “there is no substantial doubt cast on the verdict as far as this judge could tell.”  – CNN News Blogs

The argument of whether the death penalty is just or effective aside, no one should be sentenced to death when there are such questions of guilt. Commuting the sentence to life in prison would hardly have been much of a compromise for society. The members of the Georgia Board of Pardons, all appointed by Sonny Perdue, may have done their political duties, but should never sleep well again. This is not justice.

The following is from the Georgia Board of Pardons web site:

Chairman James E. Donald

Chairman James E. Donald (click here for his facebook page) began his term as Chairman of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles July 1, 2010.  Chairman Donald was elected to the position by the Board Members in June.

Chairman Donald is the former Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, and was the driving force behind groundbreaking transformations in one of the State’s largest departments. As Commissioner, Mr. Donald oversaw the fifth largest prison system in the nation, some 200,000 felons in prison or on probation, 15,000 employees, of whom 10,000 are sworn peace officers, and an annual budget of more than $1.2 billion.

Mr. Donald’s commitment to Governor Perdue’s vision of a safer, healthier, better educated and best-managed Georgia has resulted in several revolutionary initiatives. Under his leadership, relocation of the Corrections Headquarters and its Training Academy to Tift Campus in Forsyth, Georgia began. This decision will save Georgia taxpayers $4 million annually. Additionally, his decisions to realign and reduce staff positions in the central office, combine many facilities and probation support functions, and transform medical support practices are estimated to have saved taxpayers over $16 million.

Also, Mr. Donald opened and began operating seven new 200-bed Pre-Release Centers, 10 new Faith and Character-based dormitories, six new “non-resident” Day Reporting Centers, and added over 2,000 new beds for transition centers or work release programs.

Prior to his appointment as the Commissioner of Corrections in 2004, Mr. Donald retired as a Major General of the United States Army Forces Command. He earned the Bronze Star for his bold leadership as a Task Force Commander with the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” during Gulf War I. He also served as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific, Assistant Division Commander to the 25th Infantry Division, and Director of Operations/J3 U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Mr. Donald is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History. He earned his Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri. He is an avid supporter of his church and community activities, and serves as a member of several government and civic boards.

Vice Chairman Albert Murray

Vice Chairman Albert Murray was appointed to the Board on May 15, 2010, by Governor Sonny Perdue.  He was elected by the Board to the position of Vice Chairman in June and began serving in that role on July 1, 2010.

Mr. Murray began his service to troubled youth in his native state of Tennessee, including being appointed to assistant commissioner of juvenile services for the state of Tennessee. His successful career in Tennessee resulted in his appointment as the first commissioner of the newly created Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority in 1996. During 2003, Mr. Murray served as Deputy Commissioner of Programs for the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Mr. Murray was sworn in as Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice on January 23, 2004. He ended his tenure May 14, 2010, as the longest serving juvenile justice commissioner in Georgia’s history. Included in his many accomplishments as Commissioner of DJJ, is a SACS accredited school program, new and strengthened community programs, a newly created victims advocacy component and expanded training opportunities for staff. A major accomplishment as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice was the completion of all requirements for the release of the agency’s memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on May 5, 2009, ending eleven years of federal oversight.

Mr. Murray has a wife, Connie, and two adult daughters, Andrea and Camille.

Member Terry Barnard

Member and former State Representative Terry E. Barnard served nearly 16 years in the Georgia House of Representatives prior to being appointed to the State Board of Pardons and Parole. During his 8-term tenure, the Coastal Georgia Lawmaker faithfully served the state as a member of several key House Committees to include Appropriations, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Children and Youth, Rules and State Institutions and Property, where he served as the distinguished Chairman for 6 years.

Mr. Barnard joins the State Board of Pardons and Parole with a vast intuitional knowledge of the Georgia Department of Corrections from a legislative perspective. Passionate and persuasive, since 1994, Rep. Barnard shepherded every bill introduced into the Georgia Legislature that had any impact on the Department of Corrections.

In 1995-1996 Mr. Barnard guided through the Georgia House, the frame work for the State Sex Offenders Registry and Sexual Predators Review Board. Today with just a click of a mouse interested parties may see if a convicted sex offender is living in a neighborhood of interest.

Mr. Barnard is a native of Tattnall County having been born in Reidsville in 1957; he and his wife Susan make their home at Shellman Bluff on the Georgia Coast. He is a graduate of Atlantic Community College and has a strong background in business. He has owned and operated several businesses, among those a Real Estate Brokerage. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, he served as Vice President and Manager of First Citizens Bank of Reidsville, and as a regional marketing director for Green Tree Acceptance, a national mortgage lender.

He is involved in a local Baptist Church and takes part in many community events and activities.

Member Robert E. Keller

Member Robert E. Keller from Clayton County was appointed to the Board by Governor Sonny Perdue on January 3, 2007.

Mr. Keller served as executive counsel of the  Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia. He is the former chairman of that organization.   Before joining the Prosecuting Attorneys Council, he served as both assistant district attorney and district attorney of Clayton County. He also maintained a private practice from 1974-1977. Keller served as a member of the Georgia Board of Public Safety, the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System, the Georgia Code Revision Plan Committee and the Commission to Assess Crime Laboratory Needs into the 21st Century. He served as vice-chair of the Governor’s Commission on Certainty in Sentencing. Keller earned a bachelor’s degree from Birmingham Southern College and a law degree from Emory Law School. Mr. Keller brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, and his reputation and credibility among the judiciary and prosecutors is highly admired.

Member L. Gale Buckner

Member L. Gale Buckner was appointed to the Board on January 1, 2005 by Governor Sonny Perdue. Ms. Buckner received her Bachelors  Degree from Georgia State University, and her Graduate Degree from Brenau University.

Ms. Buckner brings a broad base of experience to the Board. She started her career as a communications officer at the Chatsworth Police Department, rising to the level of Sergeant and was honored as Officer of the Year. She began her service with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in 1981 as an undercover operative, and specialized in corruption and white-collar crime cases, earning the Director’s Award for Outstanding Investigations in 1984. While at GBI, she also served as Director of Personnel facilitating the modernization of human resource projects, and as Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs coordinating legislative activities both with the Georgia General Assembly and with the U.S. Congress. She is a graduate of the 169th session of the FBI National Academy.

In 2000, Ms. Buckner was appointed Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Office of the Governor. Under her leadership, the agency administered $100 million annually in federal grant monies for Georgia’s criminal justice community, received three national awards for its State Analysis Center, and also served as Georgia’s Crime Victims Compensation Board which provides offender-generated dollars to the innocent victims of violent crime. Ms. Buckner coordinated criminal justice policy initiatives regarding offender reentry, victims services, and other public safety projects during her tenure.

During her distinguished career, Ms. Buckner has served as a member of many law enforcement associations and advisory boards including the National Criminal Justice Association, the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange, the International Association of Women Police, the National Center for Women and Policing, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel, and the Georgia DARE Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Parole Association of Georgia, the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, and state and national Chiefs of Police Associations.

She is the recipient of the 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award from Georgia State University, and the 2001 Secretary of State Outstanding Leadership as a Georgia Woman in Public Safety Award. Ms. Buckner has worked in many arenas of the criminal justice system, and has a unique vantage which will enhance the implementation of the mission and vision of the Board.

Forgiveness is way overrated

I’m really in to brotherly love, peaceful coexistence and all that stuff. I got little room for hate and vengeance – antipathy is about as far as I go. Someone slights me, I forgive or forget and move on. Apply the golden rule – forgive as I want to be forgiven.

It’s just that I’m not looking for forgiveness for murder, kidnapping, maiming, torture, assault (except verbal), robbery, abuse, incest, poisoning, grand theft, bribery, the general ruining of lives or conspiring to commit any of the above. Not saying that I couldn’t find a way to forgive some variations of these crimes, just that they don’t come freely. Likely they require some combination of stopping the behavior, confession, remorse, making amends – all of which just might lead to reconciliation. It is true in our relationships, courts and religion.

I know, I know, I know, you are thinking, “what about politicians?” Same list. If, for instance, a political party in charge of our government were to lie about reasons to take us to war, require thousands of our nation’s finest to sacrifice their lives and tens of thousands, perhaps, many more injured for life and wreaking untold heartache and hardship on their families; add to it the organized murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the maiming of a million or so more and the displacement of even millions more, calling it “collateral damage,” while in their march of madness toward making the Middle East safe for oil companies; emptying our treasury for their rich friends, dismantling the regulations that protected our economic system from failing that caused the unemployment, foreclosures, evictions, repossessions, lost pensions, bankruptcy and ruined lives of a hundred or so million of my fellow citizens, while bailing out those greedy bastards who caused this bringing their status quo back to unimaginable wealth; add to it the spoiling our lands, water, air and bringing the apocalypse of global climate change from fear to a near-term reality; add to it kidnapping and torture… well, I could go on. I don’t care how often they have admitted their sins and asked for forgiveness; I’m not ready to forgive them. Wait a minute, the Republicans, not a one, have admitted or asked for forgiveness, They’ve just asked for my vote. They aren’t going to get that. As God might would say, “Damn them.”

But wait, the new testament Bible teaches us that every sin is forgivable, except if a person blasphemes the Holy Spirit – that’s about God’s forgiveness, not mine and the Christian God has some pretty weird standards. If heaven is filled with murderers, rapists, abusers, liars, thieves, and people in office during the Bush administration, I’d prefer to be elsewhere.

I know, I know, I know, you are saying, “what about corporations, they are people, too, aren’t they?” Same list and likely to be continued.

More reading: Wikileaks.org

Losing Faith

Most of us have grown accustomed to the Bush era security lapses. A trillion or so squandered on a faux war on terror. Hundreds of billions more flushed down the toilet of Homeland Security. Then a story breaks by ProPublica, Washington Post and the New York Times – our government knew of the Mumbai plot two years in advance and did nothing. Despite the the all tough-on-terror spin, trashing of the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Convention, and enriching their defense contractor cronies, the Republicans again proved that they were inept at security as they were at waging war, managing the economy, mitigating disasters, educating our young, caring for wounded veterans,  or telling the truth. But that isn’t the part of the story that has me losing faith.

I have this naïve belief that what makes our society civilized is voluntarily compliance with our common values. My list would include honesty, respect, diligence and responsibility. Each of us would likely have a different list, which is why we have laws. In order to also have freedom, our laws are largely faith-based – each us must act with the faith that most of us will obey the laws and believe that those who do not will be brought to justice.

My faith in this glue of voluntary compliance and goodness, which enables civility, has been shaken in recent years. One after another, our elected officials, corporate owners, and religious leaders have betrayed it and have not been held accountable. I’m not referring to OJ and Mel Gibson, or Bonds, or McGuire. I’m referring to those who lie, cheat, bribe, con, steal, abuse, maim, ruin, torture and murder – presidents, popes and evangelists among them. The co-dependent cynic in me can deal with these grand failures – marking them up and filing them away as more examples of the Icarus syndrome and the subject of Lord Acton’s famous quote.

Then the story comes along of American-born, Daood Sayed Gilani – an extraordinary story of an ordinary man who betrays our civil faith time after time so exquisitely that it shakes me that he was not stopped long before 166 died and hundreds more were injured. It is Gilani’s back story that has me losing faith.

I naïvely believed that if I were to smuggle heroin into the US from Pakistan and get caught, I would go to prison for a long time and likely never have a job or family again. Gilani did 15 months in a low-security prison before being given a job with the DEA.

I naïvely believed, that if I were to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan and attend terrorist training camps during the Bush years , I’d be abducted by the CIA, tortured and still be living in Guantánamo. Three times Gilani attended Lashkar-e-Taiba training camps in Pakistan and, as far as we know, he never even made the watch list.

I naïvely believed that if I were to be married to two women at the same time, I would be emasculated or at least go to jail. Gilani was married to three women at the same time.

I naïvely believed that if I were a convicted heroin smuggler, confirmed serial bigamist, and my American ex-wife filed domestic abuse charges against me and went on to tell the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force that I was an active member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, had terrorist training in Pakistan and had purchased military equipment, that I probably wouldn’t get custody of my children. Gilani did.

I naïvely believed that if a foreign spy agency gave me money, say, $25,000, and it was reported to our embassy by my wife, that I’d get in a boat load of life-as-I-knew-it-ending trouble. Another of Gilani’s wives went at least twice to the US Embassy in Islamabad and met with regional security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers telling them that he was involved, planning and plotting terrorism and had been given $25,000 by the Pakistani spy agency. Nothing.

I naïvely believed that if I were on the payroll of a foreign government spy agency, had dual Pakistani-US citizenship, and named “Daood Sayed Gilani” that changing my name in 2006 to “David Coleman Headly” wouldn’t fool anyone and would more likely raise more attention. When Gilani —  now Headly did it, he was able to get a quick visa to India with no mention of his nationality.

How could it happen? Or am I just a chump for all those times I didn’t litter or jaywalk? All those times when I could have robbed a bank or launched a Madoff or Enron-like scheme rather than working and didn’t? All those opportunities for mayhem I let pass? I realize that we live in a society where moral values are graded on a curve, but I don’t know where to put this story. I need to Google or Bing “relativism.” Perhaps, Fox News or Bishop Eddie Long can offer me perspective.

Sermon on the stump

The Damnitudes:
Now when he saw the ratings, he went up on each of the networks and sat down. His disciples tuned in to him, and he began to teach them saying:

Damned are the poor and unemployed, for theirs is the kingdom of the street.
Damned are those who mourn, for they will be mocked.
Damned are the meek, for they will inherit the nothing, though it will be tax free.
Damned are those who hunger and thirst for leftedness, for they will suffer and starve.
Damned are the merciful, for they will be shown no mercy.
Damned are the pure in heart, for they will be blind to my truth.
Damned are the peacemakers, for they will be called cowards.
Damned are those who are persecuted because of leftedness, for theirs is the kingdom of MSNBC.
Damned are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Mourn and be sad, because great is my reward in Washington, for in the same way they persecuted their political opponents who were before you.

Crude Oil and Darkness
:
You are the crude oil of the Gulf. But if the crude oil loses its wellhead, how can it be made into gasoline again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by beach goers.

You are the darkness of the news cycle. A ghetto in the city can easily be ignored. Neither do people turn off their spot lights and security systems. Instead they turn them all on, and it gives light to everyone in their gated community. In the same way, let their light shine for them, that they may see only what they perceive as good deeds and praise their party on AM radio.

The Fulfillment of the Law:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Constitution; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you what you think is the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in on nightly news, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of prime time. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of Reagan and the teachers of the constitution, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of the party.

Murder:
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother will not be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Obama,’ is answerable. But anyone who says, Bush and Cheney’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be accuse your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Settle matters slowly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it during an election year while important issues are before Congress, or he may hand you over to the electorate, and the election may hand you over to the lobbyists, and you may finally have the money to subvert them all. I tell you the truth, you will not get their votes until you have paid the last penny.

Adultery:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has not committed adultery with her in his heart until it is on YouTube. If your right eye causes you to sin, call it your left eye and point at something else. It is better for them to lose one part of their body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut theirs off and throw it away. It is better for them to lose one part of their body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Divorce:
It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to come on Larry King, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery, which is fine.

Oaths
:
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the party.’ But I tell you, swear to anything at all: either by heaven, claiming it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great political victory. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘No’ be ‘No,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this, say it comes from the evil one.

An Eye for an Eye:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to Fox News, and say it was the left. And if someone wants to investigate you and make you tell the truth, let him have your lies as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, force him to go two miles. Take from the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to give you free trips and campaign contributions

Love for Enemies:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: hate your enemies and pray for vengeance for those who persecute you, that you may pretend to be sons of your party in heaven. Just say that He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and not the leftous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? All of it. Are not even the tax opponents doing that? And if you only greet your brothers, what are you doing in the Republican party? Do not even pagans do that? Be imperfect, therefore, as your heavenly party is perfect.

Giving to the Needy:
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of leftedness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from me in Washington.

So when you take away from the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, but make sure you do as the hypocrites do in the churches and on the streets, to be honored by voters. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you take from the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your taking may be in secret. Then your party, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer:
And when you pray, be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the churches and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, do not go into your room, close the door and pray to your party, who is unseen. Then your party, who sees what is done in secret, will not reward you. And when you pray, do keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Be like them, for your party knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:
Our party in heaven, hallowed be our names, our kingdom come, our will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today their daily bread. Bailout our debts, but not as we also have charged 33% to our debtors. And lead us into temptation, but deliver us from being called the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, you really should join another party. But if you do not forgive men their sins, our party will forgive your sins.

Fasting:
When you fast, look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they will received their reward in full. But when you fast, put crude oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will be obvious to men that you are fasting, but to your party, who is unseen; and our party, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Treasures in Heaven:
Store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  Pretend to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body and looks good on TV. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

You can serve two masters or as many as you like. You can hate the one and love the other, or  be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can serve both the party and Money.

Do Not Worry:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly party feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his political life?

And do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how the party clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the lobby firms, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ ‘Who would vote for me?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly party knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself and it will be really really hot. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Judging Others:
Judge, or you too will be judged. For in the no way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will not be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in a brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to a brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of his own eye, and then you won’t need to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Demand, Seek, Knock:
Demand and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a few dollars? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your party in heaven give good gifts to those who ask! So in everything, do to others what you would not have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Constitution.

The Narrow and Wide Gates:
Enter through the narrow gated community. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gated community and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit
:
Watch out for true prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are really sheep. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is can be elected this fall. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘party, party,’ will enter the kingdom of Washington, but only he who does the will of my party who is in Washington. Many will say to me on that day, ‘party, party, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders
:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a rich man who had his house built on hight ground on the rock overlooking the ocean. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because he could afford to have its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

When He had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

————

Author’s note: Apologies to the original author (Matthew, generally gets the credit) for my parody of this beautiful sermon epitomizing the moral teaching of Jesus. My intent was simply to remind us of these wonderful words and the perverse ways our politicians (and bloggers, including me) have chosen to distort them.